Saturday, July 17, 2010

Salem, Massachusetts

Salem is, of course, famous for the witch trials of 1692/3. Over a 13 month period twenty-nine people were convicted of the capital felony of witchcraft. Nineteen of the accused, fourteen women and five men, were hanged. One man, Giles Corey, was crushed to death under heavy stones in an attempt to force him to confess.
Salem was originally settled by Puritans escaping religious persecution and oppression in England. I wonder what it is that makes the victims become the oppressors? It's a recurring theme in social and political history throughout the ages, right up to the present (Israel anyone?).
The Puritans, it seems, were determined to eliminate any different or opposing views/faiths/beliefs. Accusations of witchcraft became the means to do this and public hysteria fuelled the flames. As it so often does.

Salem today is a tourist town. Ghost tours, witch museums, guided tours, souvenir shops, etc - all seemingly trying to outdo each other in macabre ghoulishness. If you want to buy black pointy hats and blood soaked fangs, this is the place to go.

Today is my last day in Massachusetts. Off to Florida tomorrow.



michelle said...

Have safe travels! It was great to meet you and spend time visiting. Make sure to come back and visit soon!

Shirl said...

eek! I'll have to send your lucky coin to Sheryls . . . I never got it posted. Have fun in Florida!